Why Do We Get Dental X-Rays?

black and white dental X-ray of full set of adult teeth and jawbone

If you get regular exams at our office, chances are you’ve gotten dental X-rays. Sometimes, our patients ask us why we take their X-rays when it might seem like Dr. Gallagher can see everything he needs to know with a visual examination of your teeth.

However, dental X-rays reveal important clues that allow Dr. Gallagher to diagnose and treat dental problems before they are visible to the naked eye. Some might even say that Dr. Gallagher’s use of X-rays to spot and treat any issues is a sort of dental superpower. But why, exactly, are they so important?

Why X-Rays?

X-rays give Dr. Gallagher the ability to see between and inside your teeth. Additionally, he can see the roots and bone underneath your gum. This allows him to check for any signs of decay as well as determine the extent of the decay. Dr. Gallagher can also check for impacted teeth, such as wisdom teeth, as well as see whether there has been any bone loss in the case of periodontal disease.

Types of X-Rays

There are three main types of dental X-rays: bitewing, periapical, and panoramic. A bitewing X-ray shows the tops (crowns) of your teeth, which can reveal decay in its early stages. Periapical X-rays show the bone height and root tips of your teeth, which can show bone loss. Panoramic X-rays are just like they sound: they show your entire oral cavity in one X-ray, with your upper and lower jaw and sinus areas visible to Dr. Gallagher. Panoramic X-rays give Dr. Gallagher a comprehensive view of your oral health and allow him to identify any impacted teeth, cysts or tumors, jaw disorders, and other irregularities.

How frequently we take X-rays of your teeth depends on your individual oral health. If you’re a new patient, we will likely take a full series of X-rays. Then, going forward, we will take X-rays as needed depending on your oral health.

We hope this information shines some light on why X-rays are an important tool in Dr. Gallagher’s arsenal. To ask our friendly team any questions about your oral health or to schedule your next appointment, call us today!

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